'Why Travis Etienne?'
Career production | 55 games
686 attempts | 4,952 yards | 7.2 ypc | 70 touchdowns
102 receptions | 1,155 yards | 11.3 ypr | 8 touchdowns
1 - Movement toolbox
Etienne isn't a back that is going to breakdown defenders and win reps with his lateral toolbox.
Instead, he consistently uses his accelerative capabilities as a threat to cause poor pursuit angles that can be taken advantage of.
In terms of movement signature, Etienne falls in the 'strict' category.
A vast majority of his skill set is reliant on his ability to accelerate so he can use the momentum he created as torque like you see above.
The turning through engagements is also a big part of his skill set through contact.
This works both for and against Etienne.
Etienne again causes an over-pursuit because of how threatening he is as an accelerator.
His capabilities of chaining brief lateral to linear are exceptional and make him extremely hard to gauge in the open field.
Notice how is also turns through his engagements at the end of this play.
2 - Skillset as a receiver
Etienne's biggest value as a pass-catcher will be in the screen game.
Getting him the ball in space is the most efficient way to use his top-shelf qualities as an accelerator.
In coming back for his Senior season one of the biggest areas of improvement many wanted to see was in Etienne's comfort level as a pass catcher.
While I do not believe Etienne is a natural receiver by any means, he worked on this part of his game to become a legitimate threat in an NFL passing offense.
Again, the threat of Etienne holds weight.
He will be near impossible for linebackers to cover one on one.
Etienne's primary route tree will be swings, screens, and hitches as an outlet option.
A strong suit of Etienne's is how quickly he transitions after the catch.
He can quickly turn a simple check-down into a 15 yard gain.
3 - Anticipatory qualities & Manipulating defenders
4 - Capabilities during acceleration & at top-end
Etienne is simply put the best accelerator at the position since Chris Johnson.
His ability to create instant separation from defenders is a special quality of his.
Once again the threat of Etienne in a linear fashion is going to cause an over-pursuit from a backer.
He is as 'one-cut and go' as it gets, and this works for Etienne because of how quickly he can reach speeds close to max velocity.
Notice the hitch step Etienne gives the defender at his own 40-yard line.
Knowing you have speed, and using your speed to manipulate defenders are two very different elements.
Etienne knows he can re-accelerate near top-end, faster than the defender can close.
Getting Etienne in space is going to be priority #1 for Etienne's offensive coordinator.
As far as top-end speed goes Etienne is above average and sports an unorthodox stride pattern.
If this gets cleaned up as he develops he can add an additional layer to his game-breaking speed.
5 - Through contact skillset
Etienne is slightly above average in terms of how he reacts to certain contact types.
He has a tendency to pivot through direct contact, which as you see above can work in his favor.
This does, however, mesh well with Etienne's physical capabilities because of how well he creates a springboard into acceleration.
Etienne's patience and navigation of in-direct contact come into play here.
Also, notice the use of torque to propel into re-acceleration. This is a unique part of Etienne's game and skillset through contact.
This is a perfect example of using torque to re-accelerate through the negative angles created from the spin.
Etienne essentially 'pops' out of this to propel himself into re-acceleration and has the balance to do this seamlessly.
Like I mentioned, unique part of his game.
Using the momentum built up during early acceleration as a weapon for an oncoming defender is something I would like to see more of from Etienne.
Too often, you see him trying to pivot through contact when the better option may be to take the defender head on and initiate the engagement.
Speed can be used as power.
Etienne is a one-cut, one-speed back who can be an absolute chore to tackle at the second level if he initates during direct contact instead of pivoting away.
6 - Non-linear athletic capabilities
Etienne at times plays like Ferrari with no brakes.
He is a fantastic, top-shelf accelerator, but does struggle significantly throttling down and chaining linear to lateral.
Is a lack of a refined lateral skillset worrisome?
Is he a complete Running Back?
However, scheming him into a role that can use his qualities as an accelerator is going to be a priority for his NFL offensive coordinator.
Make no mistake, Etienne is still a high ceiling player despite his glaring limitations.
7 - 'Why Travis Etienne?' | Prospect podcast
8 - Ascension grades
Tier 1: 75.00 & over -- Gold Jacket potential
Tier 2: 65.00 - 74.99 -- All-pro caliber
Tier 3: 55.00 - 64.99 -- Pro-bowl caliber
Tier 4: 49.98 - 54.99 -- Above-average starter
Tier 5: 44.96 - 49.97 -- High ceiling / High-risk prospect
Tier 6: 39.50 - 44.95 -- Secondary committee option
Tier 7: 39.49 & below -- Depth piece with low ceiling